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Staples volleyball slams Darien

Already down a game in its FCIAC showdown with rival Darien on Friday, the Staples boys volleyball team was in danger of losing a second in a row. Letting a 24-19 lead slip away to 24-23, the Wreckers needed a shot in the arm to avoiding falling into a deep 2-0 hole.

Ian Grimes answered the bell for Staples, proving a crucial kill to close out the second game. That carried over into the third and fourth games as the Wreckers steamrolled the Blue Wave 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-13, 25-15) for their fourth straight win.

"It's always tough losing one game, but losing two in a row just kills you," Staples' Lucas Grevers said. "It's really important to get that second game; the fact that we did I think turned us around."

The Wreckers dominated the final two games after surviving the second game scare. Grevers and Grimes each registered 10 kills in the victory.

Darien (4-4), which lost for the third time in four games, got off to the perfect start in Game 1. Despite fielding just one senior -- George Phillips -- the Blue Wave played a composed style and used its height advantage to grab the lead. Kills by Alex Preston and Todd Herget late in the game sealed the win.

"Darien stopped hitting the ball so hard and so often (after the first game)," Staples coach Jon Shepro said. "That was probably the biggest difference. We made some adjustments; we started triple blocking their middle hitters. We didn't have much offense going in the first game."

Staples (4-1) immediately responded and took control of Game 2. The Wreckers had leads of 15-9 and 17-12 before maintaining the lead to 24-19. Darien had chances to send the set to a tiebreaker before Grimes smashed the ball onto the Darien floor.

The Wreckers dominated each of the last two games, getting out to leads of 12-6 and 12-7 and never allowing Darien to get closer.

"The crowd gets us up and maybe rattled (Darien) a little bit," Shepro said. "It's a tough environment to play in; when we started hitting that made a big difference. It gave us more confidence and got them to shy away from hitting it so hard."

The game was a part of a fundraiser held by the Staples volleyball team to benefit Austism Speaks. The event included a prize drawing for New York Yankees tickets. 8-year-old Ethan Walmark, a Kings Highway Elementary School student, performed the National Anthem.

"This is one of the biggest games of the year for us," Grevers said. "Everyone was excited to do this. This is my favorite game of the year. We had a huge crowd and a great cause."

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Ryan Lacey

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